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from 25 June to 31 October 2021

From 25 June to 31 October 2021, the Fondation de l’Hermitage will host French-speaking Switzerland’s first major retrospective of the painter Hans Emmenegger (1866-1940), who was active in Lucerne. This event will reveal the work of a fascinating artist who remains little known today, despite being prominent in the Swiss German artistic community of his day. A keen observer of the natural world he loved, Emmenegger’s unusual subjects, conveyed in bold compositions of great originality, make him one of the most important Swiss artists of his generation. 

The exhibition will comprise around a hundred paintings spanning Emmenegger’s entire career. It will start by illustrating the influence of the work of Arnold Böcklin on his early paintings at the turn of the 20th century, followed by the change in Emmenegger’s work around 1905, when he developed his own artistic language. Casting off his early influences, he opted for powerfully modern themes such as the melting snow, dark forest interiors, reflections on water and the hills of the Swiss plateau, which he described as “marvellously mournful and solitary”. The exhibition will end with his extensive explorations of movement from 1915, with their echoes of chronophotography and the experiments of the futurist painters.

Resonating with Emmenegger’s world will be a selection of paintings by his mentors, peers and friends, such as Cuno Amiet, Arnold Böcklin, Giovanni Giacometti, Ferdinand Hodler, Félix Vallotton and Robert Zünd, and works by contemporary Swiss artists inspired by his work. An art school will also be given carte blanche to create a dialogue between Emmenegger’s art and images by budding photographers.

The exhibition will be organised in partnership with the Kunstmuseum, Lucerne, which holds an important collection of works by Emmenegger.